St. Vincent and St. Lucia are so close that if a storm passes affecting one, it is bound to affect the other.
In addition to geographical proximity is historical deepness. Sir. John Compton, regarded as the father of the nation of St. Lucia and its longest serving Prime Minister was born in Canouan, St. Vincent.
Both OECS countries exported Bananas together in the Windward Islands Banana regime and both have British and French influences.
Politically, the Unity Labour Party (ULP) in St. Vincent is closely connected to the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP), while the United Workers Party (UWP) is closely connected to the New Democratic Party (NDP) in St. Vincent.
Apart from all these realities, the reason both countries are open to each other is because of the revised Treaty of Basseterre which allows for free movement of people.
The freedom of movement regime set up through the revised Treaty of Bassetterre makes it easy for OECS Nationals to visit, work and even drive in other OECS countries.
At present, OECS citizens are; granted indefinite stay on entry, allowed to travel and enter the countries with a government issued valid photo ID, not required to obtain a work permit, and; are allowed to drive in a Member State on a valid driver’s licence from another Member State.
This, coupled with the deep historical ties establishes a bond between both countries which needs to be capitalized on more by both peoples.
More Vincentians should be visiting Rodney Bay, the Pitons and Soufriere in St. Lucia and more St. Lucians should be visiting La Soufriere, the Tobago Cays Marine Park and capital city Kingstown.
This can happen outside of family ties, sporting competitions or business related travel.
After all, both countries are only 45 miles apart.
Parts of the north in St. Vincent can be clearly seen in St. Lucia and parts of the south of St. Lucia can be clearly seen in St. Vincent.
Come see what your neighbor looks like this summer.
His real name is Oje Ken Ollivierre and he is a well-known reggae artiste from Saint Elizabeth, Jamaica.
According to Last FM, his mother is Jamaican singer, Lorna Bennett and his father is a Mike Mercy Ollivierre, a former Calypso king in St. Vincent & the Grenadines who goes by the stage name “Lord Have Mercy”.
Protoje as he is called is known for some of the biggest contemporary reggae hits, including; “Who Knows ft. Chronixx”, “Blood Money” and “Rasta Love ft. Ky-Mani Marley”.
Renowned Vincentian athletics coach and calypsonian, Mike Ollivierre confirmed that Protoje was his son in a messenger interview from his official account on April 22nd, 2018.
In a 2015 interview, Protoje told billboard that his lyrical prowess was “partially developed… by listening to calypso many years ago, at the urging of his father Mike Ollivierre, a former calypso king of St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.
According to DigJamaica, Protoje’s mother, Lorna Bennett is also his manager. She was a reggae singer in the 1970s and is best known for the hit Breakfast In Bed.
In 2015, the singer’s album, Ancient Future, reached number one on the billboard charts for the reggae genre.
You don’t dare making most soups in St. Vincent without dumplings inside them and in Jamaica, a typical breakfast would include dumplings.
One sure thing both countries have in common on the culinary side is that insatiable love for dumplings.
A contest for who loves them more, however, might be hard to decide. Here are some variations in the types of dumplings made in both countries:
Fried Dumpling: Vincentians who have not yet been exposed to Jamaican cuisine might raise their eyebrows at the mention of ‘fry dumplings’. Fried dumplings, however, are an important part of an authentic Jamaican breakfast.
St. Vincent, however, has fried bakes. Some made as a bread dough with yeast, others with baking powder in them, along with flour, salt, water and sometimes, butter.
Coconut dumplings: This is the king of all dumplings in St. Vincent. This is the most loved form of dumplings you can imagine and people love them more than fried ripe plantains. These could be served as part of a “boileen’ (a type of soup with peeled ground provision) or served sliced with steamed ground provision.
Plain Flour Dumplings: These are the most common forms of dumplings made in both countries. Baking powder can be added to them, if one plans to slice them, but they are mainly cooked with a plain flour, salt and water mixture.
Green Banana Dumplings: These are probably the sweetest form of dumplings, rivaling the coconut dumpling. These are served mainly in soups in St. Vincent. The green banana is peeled, grated and mixed with flour, salt, a little bit of sugar and water to make this delicious treat. It is said to be made in Jamaica as well, but not as widely used as in St. Vincent.
A typical Salt fish and ground provision dish in St. Vincent
Cornmeal Dumplings: Both Jamaica and St. Vincent use this one. Cornmeal is mixed with flour, salt, water (and a pinch of sugar in some cases) to make this dumpling.
Whole wheat flour Dumplings: These are not so popular, but are made in both countries. Places such as Juci Patties in Jamaica serve them as part of their regular breakfast offerings.
Dumplings can be eaten at anytime in both countries, but are mainly consumed in soups, in the case of St. Vincent, and for breakfast or even dinner, in the case of Jamaica.
Of all the dumplings though, the Vincy Coconut dumpling and banana dumplings are definitely big on flavour and the Jamaican fry dumpling is also worth a try.
Though known for soca and calypso, St. Vincent and the Grenadines have some trending reggae artistes.
Some of them have performed in regional and extra regional concerts and their music, through technology, is reaching audiences worldwide.
Here are three trending reggae artistes from St. Vincent and the Grenadines you should know:
1. Yaphatoo: He has been a round for quite sometime and his biggest hits also make up some of the biggest reggae hits emerging from St. Vincent. These include; “Wisdom”, “Concrete Jungle” and “Jah will be waiting there”.
“Wisdom” is regarded as one of the best reggae songs of its kind, but “Concrete Jungle” has been one of the most notable reggae songs to emerge from the shores of St. Vincent.
Yaphatoo’s most recent performance was at the 2018 Chronixx Zinc Fence Redemption concert at the Victoria Park in St. Vincent, where he was well received by the crowd.
2. Abu Zanimah Cyrus: Abuza, like his counterpart Yaphatoo, has performed on the same stage as hits like Romain Virgo, chronixx and others. Three of Abuza’s biggest songs are; “Jus have patience”, “In Town” and “Never give up on real love”.
3. Qshan Deya: If you are not careful, you’d mistake him for Luciano, because Qshan Deya has a similar voice like the Reggae grandmaster. Some of Deya’s biggest songs are; “Gate of Mt. Zion” ft. Vaughn ”Akae Beka” Benjamin, “Guilty” ft. Lady G and “Mama”.
Other notable mentions are; Dynamite with “Believe” and “Giddeon” as well as Ziah Ayubu, Afari Haywood, and Patrick Junior.
Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) are located about 1123 miles apart with Jamaica being about 28 times bigger.
Jamaica’s population is approximately 2.8 million, while St. Vincent has 109,000 people.
With these significant differences in distance, size and population, it is hard to see what these two countries can have in common, except for them both being Caribbean islands.
Here are 8 notable things Jamaica and St. Vincent have in common:
1.Food: Both countries have their own unique cuisines. Jamaicans love patties and Ackee and salt fish, while Vincentians love fried chicken with bread and a dish called pelau. The foods they have in common, however, are; dumplins, salt fish, cassava bread (called ‘Bammy’ in Jamaica and ‘Bam-Bam’ in St. Vincent) as well as steamed fish and ground provision. Both countries seem to have high consumption of ground provision (Yams, Dasheens, Sweet potatoes). Breadfruit is loved in St. Vincent and forms part of the national dish.
2.The creole: This is probably the biggest surprise on the list, especially given the globally recognized uniqueness of the Jamaican twang. Students from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, however, who study at the UWI Mona campus in Jamaica are shocked at the similarities in the accent between persons from Westmorland in Jamaica and persons from South Rivers, Lowmans Windward and different parts of the Eastern side of St. Vincent.
3.The Music: St. Vincent is soca and calypso, while Jamaica is known for reggae and dancehall. So how is it that music is on this list? Jamaicans who visit St. Vincent often feel at home because more Jamaican music is played in St. Vincent than music originating in St. Vincent (except at Carnival time in June/July).
Vincentians (called Vincies) also love Jamaican artistes such as Buju Banton, Jah Cure, Alkaline, Vybz Kartel, Popcaan, Christopher Martin and Chronixx. It’s really great though when a Vincy can hear Kevin Lyttle’s “Turn me on” or a Skinny Fabulous soca song pumping somewhere in Jamaica.
4.History of colonial resistance: The Maroons in Jamaica and the Garifuna in St. Vincent were two of the most powerful forces of resistance against British colonization in the Caribbean. There were Maroon wars. Constant resistance by the Maroons (African slaves who freed themselves) against the English resulted in the signing of peace treaties between both, with the first being on March 1st, 1739, according to the National Library of Jamaica.
In St. Vincent, there were the Black Carib Wars. Constant resistance by the Garifuna people (Black Caribs) against the British resulted in a 1773 treaty, granting lands in the north of the island as a reserve for the Caribs, according to The British Empire.
Though the Garifuna were eventually subjugated after the death of Chief Joseph Chatoyer and some were exiled, many descendants still remain today in St. Vincent and the resistance enabled St. Vincent to have the shortest period of chattel slavery in the Caribbean (15th paragraph).
5. Terrain: Jamaica is much larger than St. Vincent and has much more flat land. The thing both countries have in common, when it comes to terrain is the mountainous nature of both places.
6. Marijuana: Both countries are known to be growers of good weed, even though a well-known Marijuana tester has said that St. Vincent’s ganja is much more potent than Jamaica’s. The Land of Wood and Water has taken steps to establish a medical marijuana industry, while the Gem of the Antilles is just moving to establish such an industry.
7. A cosmopolitan mix of people: The Caribbean itself is a melting pot of many races so this point should not come as a surprise. Both Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have a predominantly black population, but mixtures of different countries and ethnicities are present. Many Garifuna and some east Indians, Syrians, Chinese, and Caucasians are found in St. Vincent and so too in Jamaica (with the exception of the Garifuna population).
8. Family ties: Many Vincentians and Jamaicans have married each other over the years creating family ties. Even the current Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves was once married to a Jamaican and so too are many other professionals over the years who studied in Jamaica.
There are more similarities, but these ones are the most notable.
The contributions to this article were made after consultation with persons from both countries who have been interacting with each other for sometime.
He has spark, is full of personality and believes vacations should be fun.
Decked out in his captain suit, he’s sure to steer your vacation ship through marvelous waters of fun, excitement and adventure.
His name is Quency Lewis, a tour operator and the proprietor of Foreign Tours taxi service.
The SVG Tourism Authority (SVGTA) approved tour operator service has touched the lives of many visitors to St. Vincent from as far as Germany to as near as Barbados in special ways. It continues to do so by offering specialized tour packages to a number of popular venues.
Whether you want to visit the Petroglyphs in the Town of Layou, the natural water park at Wallilabou or make a hike to the La Soufriere Volcano, Foreign Tours can take you there and you will be in for some great fun.
Lewis told Secretsofsvg in a Saturday April 7th, 2018 conversation, that the most popular spots are Fort Charlotte, Pirates of the Caribbean, Walliabou waterfalls and Dark View Falls.
The tour service also offers an efficient feature where card payments can be made on the go, limiting the need for cash and making the service more accessible to his customers.
This is a story of two CARICOM countries which are apart in terms of geography, but which are eternally bonded by history.
In a previous story carried by Secrets of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ travel blog, it was promoted that Belize owes St. Vincent. There is however, another side to the coin, and that is – St. Vincent owes Belize.
Though the presence of Garifuna people in Belize are traced back to St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Belize indirectly owes it to St. Vincent for part of their culture, it turns out that St. Vincent owes Belize too.
The truth in this assertion is found when one considers where St. Vincent had to turn in an effort to revamp Garifuna culture and heritage.
If you guessed Belize, you guessed right.
The Garifuna in Belize and elsewhere in Central America, were somehow able to retain their culture to an extent that the Garifuna who remained in St. Vincent were not. This lead to much international recognition of the Garifuna.
For instance, The Garifuna Heritage Foundation states on its website that “On May 18th, 2001 the Garifuna Language, Music and Dance was Proclaimed by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. This Proclamation was made possible through the unstinting work of the National Garifuna Council of Belize”.
It is safe to conclude that had it not been for the vibrancy of the Garifuna in Belize to preserve Garifuna culture in terms of art, music, folk medicine, language, literature and history, among other factors, it is likely that St. Vincent’s quest to regain a cultural identity in such areas would be exceedingly difficult.
For instance, Belizean-born Garifuna singer and performer – James Lovell came to St. Vincent, as part of a ‘Yurumein Garifuna Cultural Retrieval’ workshop, teaching Drums and the Garifuna Language to young Vincentians. See article here
ST. VINCENT’S PROBLEM
The present generation in St. Vincent, however, cannot be held fully accountable for the void which exists among St. Vincent’s Garifuna community, where Garifuna culture is concerned.
According to a 2004 publication by Herbert Devonish of the Jamaican Language unit – UWI Mona, it is suggested it that “the last speaker of Vincentian Garifuna died in 1932”.
Some historians in St. Vincent believe that the reason for the death of the Garifuna language in St. Vincent was that one could not publicly communicate in any other tongue than English, as a rule, after the exile of more than 5,000 Garifuna.
Furthermore, visitors to St. Vincent will experience the true war waged against the Garifuna when places such as Fort Charlotte are visited. There, Cannons pointed inland still stand today as relics of a time when war was waged against the Garifuna.
Every attempt was made to curb resistance and exterminate the Garifuna from St. Vincent. Luckily, due to the terrain, the mountainous north-eastern end of the island served to be a safe-haven for the people.
PROGRESS MADE IN ST. VINCENT
Though not as deep as in Belize, the food (particularly Cassava) and the use of herbal medicine have always been preserved by the Garifuna in St. Vincent.
Furthermore, much progress has been made and continues to be made to advance the culture of the Garifuna who live in St. Vincent and to cement their rightful place in the country’s political landscape.
For instance, In 2002, with the passage of the National Heroes Act, The Right Excellent Joseph Chatoyer – Paramount Chief, was accorded the honour of the first National Hero of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and March 14th declared a public holiday – National Heroes Day. This was a major political development.
Roads, bridges and other infrastructure were also put in, including the Rabacca Bridge which Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said was symbolic in linking the northern communities (the Garifuna Communities) to the rest of the country
In 2015, a very ambitious proposal by some entities to grant honorary citizenship to Garifuna descendants who regard St. Vincent as their ancestral home, was met with some degree of indifference. People instead seemed to strongly favour cultural exchanges and other moves to keep the link alive.
The people of Belize deserve to know the truth about something significant that impacts their social and cultural sectors.
The truth is that CARICOM member Belize, located in the west, owes its southern Caribbean counterpart – St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
This debt is not one which is economic in nature.
So what exactly is owed?
Belize owes a part of its cultural heritage to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, through the presence of the Garifuna population.
Chances are, there would be no public holiday called Garifuna Settlement Day in Belize, or the presence of any Garifuna and their language, artifacts, music, culinary influences and the sort, had it not been for the expulsion of Garifuna from St. Vincent to Central American countries, and in this case – Belize.
There is an inextricable link between St. Vincent and Belize as history has joined both countries together forever.
It states: “The island of Balliceaux, which lies to the west of Bequia and north of Mustique, is of immense significance to persons of Garifuna ancestry. It is to this island that the English banished about 5000 of their ancestors following the defeat of Chief Joseph Chatoyer in the 1795.
Half of them died on the island; the others were deported to Roatan Island off the coast of Honduras. Today, they reside in Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, the USA and other countries around the world. Yurumei, the Garifuna name for St. Vincent, is recognized as their ancestral home”.
In St. Vincent, the hybrid race (Garifuna) created when Africans (runaway slaves… some believed to be shipwrecked after escaping Barbados) interbred yellow caribs (Kalinago) is still very much alive in areas such as Greggs, Sandy Bay, Georgetown, Owia and Fancy.
The country’s first national hero – The Right Excellent Joseph Chatoyer – Paramount Chief, is recognized each year on March 14th, National Heroes Day, a public holiday, where thousands gather in Greggs and Fancy for Garifuna culture and food.
In Belize, there is a St. Vincent block and according to BBC Travel, “Today, Garinagu communities make up only 4% of Belize’s more than 325,000 people, and most can be found along the country’s southern coast in the towns of Dangriga and Punta Gorda and the villages of Hopkins, Barranco and Seine Bight”. (Updated)
The strength and resilience of the Garifuna people is not only seen through the presence of both those in Belize and St. Vincent.
There are many relics which exist in St. Vincent, including petroglyphs, inland cannons and an obelisk at Dorsetshire Hill which are worth a visit.
Those in Belize who have Garifuna ancestry owe St. Vincent a visit, in order to get a deeper understanding of the connection between the past and present.
Students from all around the world are making their mark and advancing their careers in the southern Caribbean nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in both contemporary and unique areas of study.
Here are, however, four (4) areas of study you probably didn’t know you can take up in St. Vincent:
1. Climate Change and Climate Compliance: Students from Denmark, Japan, the USA, Canada, Columbia and African countries, among others, enroll at the Richmond Vale Academy (RVA) in St. Vincent to pursue 6 months and one year courses in Climate Change and Climate Compliance.
In 2011, Richmond Vale Academy joined One World University on a distance learning regime. Among the modules covered in the courses are; permaculture, organic farming, bio-gas production, renewable energy and climate change mitigation. You can even book a room at the eco-lodge part of the establishment if you want to witness these things in action, as a guest. See more at http://richmondvale.org/.
3. Horses: what can you possibly study about horses, save and except riding them? Turns out there’s a lot more and there’s a school in St. Vincent where you can learn all about horses. Headed by Stina Herberg, Principal of the Richmond Vale Academy, the Yurumein Horse School offers Lessons in ‘Liberty Training’ and ‘Starting a Horse under Saddle’, Dancing with Horses, Natural Horse Management and Sustainable Horse Keeping Lessons and Horse Hikes.
4. Scuba Diving: you can learn scuba diving in St. Vincent and the Grenadines at several places, but the Richmond Vale Hiking and Diving Center is one of them. They teach Scuba Diving in the PADI instructor system. You can also pick up diving gears at their PADI certified store.
The Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) present in the wild-grown Marijuana in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is extremely high, exceeding that of which is grown in Jamaica.
This was revealed on Thursday February 8, 2018, by US Cannabis scientist – DJ Chef Frederick H. Nesbitt III (updated). The scientist is also a chef, specializing in cannabis nutrition. Nesbitt has more than two decades of experience in Marijuana testing.
The scientific testing took place in the presence of government ministers, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) officials, technocrats and the media.
The marijuana from St. Vincent also scored very high on other chemical components which are important in determining the quality of marijuana, including Cannabidiol CBD’s. Click here for the video link.
The highest THC rates found in St. Vincent’s ganja was at an eye-opening 25.5 percent. The highest THC levels are at 30-35 percent, but those rates are found in plants grown in specialized / controlled laboratory conditions.
It is the first time that scientific testing is being done on St. Vincent’s marijuana which has long been tabooed, illegal and criminalized.
The testing was part of an historic move by the multi-island state to establish a modern medicinal marijuana industry.
The Scientist said there is nothing in Jamaica close to the 25.5 percent and that the first tested strain is among the best in the Caribbean and possibly better than that grown in then United States.
POSSIBLY HIGHER THAN THE US
According to a 2016 CNN report, “some Colorado state legislators proposed an amendment to limit THC to 16% in marijuana and marijuana products sold in the state”. This was in response to increase in potency of Colorado’s weed.
“Another study that analyzed samples from pot seized by the US Drug Enforcement Administration from 1995 to 2014 also showed an increase in potency of “illicit cannabis plant material” from 4% THC content in 1995 to 12% in 2014″ – the CNN report said.
The eye-opening fact about St. Vincent’s marijuana THC levels is that the marijuana is not grown in controlled environments, but the THC ranges from 19 – 25.5 percent.
According to News784, samples for the scientific testing of the herb were collected from over 10 different locations above the 1000ft contour volcanic mountainsides of mainland St. Vincent.
By: Demion McTair
Editor – Secrets of St. Vincent & the Grenadines
Story updated at 11:05 am AST – Saturday February 10, 2018